The Federal Government has expressed its intention to utilize its Bioeconomy policy as a means to foster comprehensive economic growth, generate wealth, create employment opportunities, and effectively reduce poverty in the country.
Prof. Nebeolisa Anako, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP), conveyed this message during a workshop held in the Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa state.
Dr. Lanre Adekanye, the Director of the International Cooperation Department within the FMFBNP’s Budget and National Planning Arm, represented Anako at the event.
The workshop focused on raising awareness and promoting the understanding of the Bioeconomy, employment, and inclusive growth through the development of the Cassava Bio-Ethanol Value Chain.
The theme of the workshop was “Knowledge Transfer: Cassava and Bio-Ethanol Value Chain.” Anako emphasized that the government’s objective is to achieve higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and significantly reduce unemployment rates by providing meaningful opportunities for the country’s youth through the adoption of Bioeconomy as a viable alternative.
He further explained that the Bioeconomy policy aims to facilitate sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development by establishing a bio-based economy that would contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation, and improved access to food and energy.
“The country, at this time, needs an approach that will increase food production, youth employment, and increased growth through the provision of industrial feedstock and exportable products to boost our economy.
“To achieve this, one strategic pathway is to develop the cassava bio-ethanol value chain.
“I would like to thank stakeholders from relevant Federal Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) for their collaboration and enduring partnership thus far in developing the Bio-economy Policy, which is a ministerial deliverable that was captured in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021 – 2025,” he said.
He noted that the development of the bioeconomy value chain was a veritable pathway to assuage the economic impacts of the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products on citizens and for sustained development,” he said.
Prof. Suleiman Bala-Mohammed, the Vice Chancellor of Nasarawa State University, Keffi, highlighted the relevance of the workshop, stating that its theme accurately captured the urgent requirement to leverage the potential of the economy, especially within the North Central region.
“North Central Nigeria has a rich agricultural heritage, and cassava stands as one of our most vital and versatile crops.
“It is crucial that we capitalize on these resources to unlock economic opportunities, create jobs and foster inclusive growth.
“The cassava-bioethanol value chain holds tremendous promise in this regard as it integrates various sectors from agriculture to energy and entrepreneurship,” he said.
Additionally, Prof. Ken Ife, the Managing Director of Biosources and Technologies Limited and the keynote speaker at the workshop characterized Bioeconomy as a knowledge-driven approach that encompasses the utilization of molecular biology derived from plants and animals, along with associated processes, to generate a diverse array of products spanning various sectors of the economy.
He emphasized that due to the substantial potential found in cassava, it was a logical choice to initiate the implementation of the Bioeconomy policy. This implementation would involve collaboration among academia, research and development institutions, farmers, the private sector, government agencies, civil society organizations, development partners, and development finance institutions.